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Lansing Sports Sobus Field

Competitive sports between Lansing and other Section IV IAC schools are on hold.  School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso filled in school board members Monday on an IAC vote to hold off league sports in the interest of maintaining health and wellness.  The IAC Section IV Athletic Association released a statement that says the vote wasn't unanimous, but a clear majority (84%) voted to postpone the Fall season until March 1.

"After much League and Section IV discussions, in the interest of student health & safety and with financial concerns due to New York State aid to Education cuts, Section IV member schools have voted 59 YES; 10 NO; 1 abstention to postpone the Section IV Fall Sport Season to the NYSPHSAA Fall Sports Season II with a start date of March 1, 2021."

Fall IAC sports include cross country, field hockey, football, soccer, girls swimming, and girls volleyball.  Pettograsso said that Lansing Athletic Director Matt Loveless will attend the next Board of Education meeting to provide details on plans for Lansing sports.

In late August Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that low risk sports could begin in all regions of the state  September 21st, and high risk sports could practice, but not play.  The State health Department provided guidance for low, moderate, and high risk sports.  Low risk sports include tennis and other racquet games, golf, shooting ranges, shuffleboard, and other non-contact activities.  That leaves IAC sports in the moderate and high risk categories.  But Cuomo also said the state would not decide on whether to allow scholastic sports -- that decision would be left up to the school districts.  Pettograsso noted that Monday -- the first day of school -- went very well due to months of planning, and wants to concentrate on building on that success.  -- and that holding sports events with other districts could put that success at risk.

"Some people may say students left and right are having a competitive sports outside of school when they're competing with other students and things like that.  And that is true," Pettograsso said. "We understand that, and that's outside of school. But in school right now for the first few months, we really just want to make sure that we're able to stay open, that this hard work that we put in since March does not get derailed because of another school that comes in that may not have the same protocols that we do... That may not have the same safety measures, or we just don't know. And we don't know about what locker room would look like and things like that. So we will not be moving forward with competition with other schools... and that's been voted on."

Pettograsso said that all competition would remain inside the Lansing district for now, but that varsity and junior varsity teams would begin practice as soon as Loveless is ready, on or soon after the September 21st start date Cuomo set for school athletics.

"Our Athletic Director, Mr. Loveless, is working out the best protocols right now. Officially, we can start on Monday. Hopefully we'll have things in place for Monday, but it may be a day or a day or two. After that, I know we've already been moving forward with the paperwork to get students all set for health forms and things like that to practice," she said.

Pettograsso said the decision to hold cross-district competition sports needed to be a league decision because it didn't make sense for each school to decide on its own.

"It really needs to be a regional conversation because it makes no sense if I say yes to a sport and seven other schools that I play against say no.  So we finally came together to make a decision," she explained.  "But really it's about the overall wellness of our community, so we can stay open... so we can safely get into sports, hopefully, in January. As far as competing, either internally with each other, or more with each other, or with other teams, we'll give you an update and a family update in the next coming days on what that will look like --  our practices and workouts -- and who can do it and where, and when."

Pettograsso said student will be able to practice on the days they attend school in person, and that potentially whole teams may be able to practice on Fridays. The District is looking into the possibility of competition events within the district, potentially with combined JV and varsity teams.

"But it will be just in house. That's pretty much all I'm saying right now. It's JV, varsity, and in-house only.  We're still kind of working out the real details," she said.

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